Any advice please?(87 Posts)
Without wishing to out myself - goodness knows that I'm actually feeling scared for the first time in my career as it is - I'm a health education teacher and responsible for sex and relationship education which I'm happy to do. I think there's v
alue in what I do, supporting learners to navigate this stuff during lessons and on an individual or small group basis as and when. I've been teaching nearly 20 years so have pretty much heard it all...
This year I am facing, for the first time, horrendous hostility from our boys in relation to any discussion about equality, rape or sexual assault. I've carried out quite a bit of research, pupil voice etc and, having followed the dots, I've ended up finding some of the YouTubers and sites that they seem to watching. I feel so depressed - there's no way that I can compete with the onslaught of misinformation. In fact, the more I try to address it, the greater the backlash. These are boys that I have known since the age of 11 and of whom I am so fond.
Can anyone give me any advice or suggestions - or even just encouragement to carry on with my work as it's starting to feel quite futile.
Can you prove to them that what they see on YouTube is bullshit and hit them with real facts?
Start your own youtube profile responding to these other sites proving the bullshit?
It's good you know know where they are getting their ideas from so that you can bullet point all of the bullshit and refute it one by one.
Thank you so much for your reply. I don't think I could do my own YouTube channel as I think I could be potentially damaging for the school as well as my own professional reputation. I'd also be scared of a backlash in the comments section.
I did watch a Milo Yiannpoulos clip with one class and I critiqued it with them but it seemed to feed into their conspiracy theory and I have never felt so shrill and disempowered. A strange and scary feeling. It's as if some of them are brainwashed.
Use Google Scholar and hit them with the facts.
There's also some very good feminist youtubers. You can probably find some that counter the misogynist ones.
Can you give us some examples of the misinformation and maybe we could offer more specific advice?
They associate the terms Equality and feminism with 'man-hating' and the desire to have more rights than men; women who say have been raped are liars, are just regretting having slept around, were asking for it... all the classics. Women now have equality so stop banging on about it.
All of the work that I ever do is based on case studies and examples and so forth - the media coverage of high profile rape cases, women in business, politics, TV, Hollywood and music videos. We talk about discrimination against men, how damaging Man Up is. Big focus on male mental health, fair- play in relationships and how men and boys can experience abuse, boys can be groomed for cse etc but I feel like I'm pushing a whole load of buttons that have never existed before.
Do they talk like this about black people, etc?
I think you might be feeling stymied by "everybody is entitled to their opinion" mindset. How much of that originates/ is enforced by the school, do you suppose?
I'd want to tackle the very premise of them spreading hate language. But, yeah, get as much factual information as you can, and the support of the head teaching team.
Have you asked them to produce their evidence? Then you could counter with your evidence and hopefully set them straight
Thank you for your replies - I have tried to asked them to consider it within the same context as racism etc but I'm not sure if there are the same counter-arguments, or at least they're not accessing the same counter-arguments. They don't seem aware of Black Lives Matter and the subsequent All Lives Matter movement, for example.
I'm teaching in a semi-rural location. I'm from a city. That isn't helping...
You're right - I have given senior team the heads up but think perhaps I need to take it further now.
I really appreciate people taking the time to reply this evening.
Could you try gender neutralising some media reports of crime/employment tribunals etc and get them to analyse them without knowing the gender of people involved? Then reveal it later?
For example a sex assault case with a male victim - see what they say then see whether that changes when they know the genders involved?
That's a really interesting idea. I'll explore it, thanks.
Quentin's idea is a really good one. You can try similar with all sorts of things, descriptions of people who have done amazing things without mentioning their names and sex, see if they can guess which is which to help them explore their cognitive biases.
It's also great that you're talking about male mental health and the ideas around toxic masculinity that harm men and boys. Masculinity can be great, but isn't so much when those ideas are taken to extremes.
I really hope you can get through to these children, from the sounds of it, if anyone can, it will be a teacher who is as passionate about it as you.
That's a great idea from Quentin. This must be so disheartening, OP.
I know what I'm about to say isn't very feminist (and goes against what I believe) but would they take the message on board if it was a male teacher?
(I hate myself for writing that).
Can you hit the little twerps hard with a doc about FGM, maybe?
There are some young lads in it that come to some harsh realisations. Yours might start to relate?
Any chance of a 'cool' male speaker who says opposite? As in male-to-male education that challenges ideas about violence towards women? This might be best done in a male only environment
the girls can do something fun or empowerment or something.
I also like Quentin's idea.
The interent really isn't on our side in the war against women .
I've encountered this attitude while dating grown men who are intelligent and reasonable in other matters. I was thinking of making a resources thread for all research that shows pretty unequivocally that we still do not have equality. And equal rights do not equal equality.
What about taking a major study that shows inequality and asking them to come up with reasons as to why this could exist if it weren't for sexism? I was reading about a study somewhere online recently which showed that female doctors (in the US I think) actually outperform male doctors consistently, even when things like selection biases are controlled for. And yet they consistently earn substantially less. The study was huge and incredibly comprehensive and it's hard to explain the pay gap when there is clear evidence that women seem to actually make better doctors.
I haven't thought this out properly though, I'll do a bit more pondering...
Ask them to write an essay on the difference between equal rights and equality (you can suggest resources such as those showing the unequal burdens women have when it comes to caring, unequal access to emotional support from partners, the fact that poverty disproportionately affects women).
Had another thought- you could also gender neutralise and anonymity some of the twaddle their you tubers come out with (and maybe some feminists too ) and see what they think of it then. Maybe if you did a reveal that the really odious shit was Milo they might stop watching in the same light?
Could you role play a case study? Have the boys in the 'victim' role to see how it actually feels when everything they say is questioned? I read somewhere about a teacher dividing up the class by eye colour and giving special treatment to one group to highlight discrimination. Sorry not a teacher so I don't know how practical it would be.
I had this with my 14 yr old son recently. I was actually a bit upset. he was giving me the run down on Milo and 1st, 2nd, 3rd wave feminism. How we have equality now - equal laws, opportunities etc. All over the queues for bloody women's toilets. I tried to explain it was much more than that and does that mean thst racism doesnt exist then as we have equsl laws. If course that was different. I was surprised he knew about all this - my husband was clueless.
Having May, Merkle, sturgeon in power actually doesn't help.
Is this happening in a coed class? Curious to know what the girls say ... if they get the chance to say anything.
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